The Cariboo Regional District (CRD) recently approved up to $9,600 of Community Works Funding (CWF) for the Watch Lake and District Women’s Institute (WLDWI).
The money will be used to install an energy-efficient furnace at the Watch Lake Community Hall in the log portion of the building.
CRD Area L Director Bruce Rattray notes the project follows others that were done earlier at the Watch Lake hall, such as insulation and energy-efficient lighting.
Up to $12,000 in CWF money was also provided last summer for installation of a radiant tube heating system in the non-log half of the community hall, and replacement of three plywood openings with awning windows.
Now, the remainder of the hall will be brought up to modern heating standards while reducing the utility bill and the carbon footprint.
WLDWI secretary Lynda Krupp says the society is thrilled to hear the grant was approved, as it will pay for the entire project for under-floor heating in the log portion of the hall – the final step in a series of renovations over the past five years or so.
“We are elated, absolutely elated. This is the last big thing that we need to do to our hall. I think there will be no major upgrades needed for many, many years. It’s a wonderful thing for the community.”
Krupp says the group is grateful to the CRD directors for approving it, but also to CRD community services assistant Kathleen MacDonald, who helped her with the grant application, she adds.
Rattray explains the federal-provincial Gas Tax Agreement CWF program now administered by the province was originally intended as a carbon footprint reduction initiative – this furnace upgrade fits – but has since been broadened out for other projects, such as water and sewer infrastructure.
“But we are still doing some energy-related projects. It’s for public infrastructure, and we have chosen to define public infrastructure as not just CRD-owned, but some of the community infrastructure that the community groups own, and we support that as well.”
He says just about all the CRD-owned infrastructure has been dealt with now, making it even easier to hand out the federal-provincial grant money to communities.
There is also an “interesting spin-off” benefit to the CRD’s administering these grants to local facilities that then use local labour, Rattray adds.
“It has helped to develop the local expertise in getting energy-efficient installations. Some of the companies are getting quite expert in lighting retrofits, for example, and high-efficiency furnace installations, and so on.”